This unorthodox, boundary-pushing musical group is making waves by updating their sound and putting on the best gypsy swing shows in the South.
What exactly do you think of when you hear the phrase “Velvet Caravan?”
For some, it might conjure up an imaginary, highly complex blend of Eastern European tea, replete with all manners of woodsy, aromatic twigs and leaves. For others, let’s say adventurous listeners weaned on New York City’s unorthodox, boundary-pushing 1960s art-rock group The Velvet Underground, the similarities in pronunciation and cadence between that infamous band’s name and the aforementioned phrase are hard to ignore.
So, it may come as no surprise that the phrase “Velvet Caravan” is being used as the moniker of–wait for it–an unorthodox, boundary-pushing musical group. Velvet Caravan—which includes violinist Ricardo Ochoa, keyboardist Jared Hall, guitarist Jimmy Grant, and brand-new addition Vuk Pavlovic on drums and percussion—formed in Savannah, Georgia and have existed for several years, during which time they have gone from being a slightly informal instrumental combo known for their raucous bar and restaurant gigs, to rising national stars on the world music scene.
With an almost instantly recognizable sound that is somehow both intentionally, jubilantly eclectic and unashamedly rooted in not only the classical tradition but the jazz idiom as well, this feisty, mostly acoustic quintet of violin, standup bass, guitar, keyboards and drum kit now finds itself increasingly in demand at listening rooms, small theaters and music festivals across the country.
“Our ultimate goal,” says bassist Eric Dunn (formerly of regional roots-rock faves the Train Wrecks) “is to be a creative, successful and ever-evolving band that makes great music and puts on one hell of a show.”
And that’s just what they do. Their concerts offer the intensity of a high-energy jam-band while showcasing the kind of nuanced and inspired musical chops that can only come from members who are –in varying degrees– classically trained players with impressive resumes.
Currently, the group is in the midst of a realignment of sorts. The lineup will soon release their second professionally-recorded CD, engineered and mixed by acclaimed local producer Kevin F. Rose at Elevated Basement Studios. They recently headlined a high-profile show at Savannah’s historic Lucas Theatre for the Arts, and are eyeing a number collaborations with a wide variety of other respected musicians and vocalists.
Check Velvet Caravan out on tour!
October 13 – Rochester, NY
October 26 – New Paltz, NY
October 27 – Purchase, NY
November 1 – Branchburg Park, NJ
November 2 – Jim Thorpe, PA
November 4 –Union, NJ
November 15 – Wilmington, NC